About this Show

Erin Burnett Out Front

News/Business. Erin Burnett. (2012)

NETWORK
CNN

DURATION
00:30:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Virtual Ch. 759 (CNN HD)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
1920

PIXEL HEIGHT
1080

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Russia 13, Syria 12, Us 7, Texas 7, Assad 5, Obama 5, Postal Service 3, Romney 3, Amarillo 3, Tartus 2, Montana 2, Lavandera 2, California 2, Obama Administration 1, Bet 1, Fran Townsend 1, Tom 1, Bill Adare 1, Frances Townsend 1, Tim 1,
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  CNN    Erin Burnett Out Front    News/Business.  
   Erin Burnett.  (2012)  

    July 10, 2012
    8:00 - 8:30pm PDT  

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offenders. >> glad he has a sense of humor about it, because frankly, my nerves are fried. consider yourself on notice. for now, the trail of crumbs leads right to the ridiculous. that does it for us. out front next, president obama versus romney in a war over who is more transparent. we'll tell you what both camps are hiding. russia sends a flotilla of warships towards syria but says it's no big deal. and your cell phone as an informant. how police are using your smartphone to spy on you. let's go "outfront." good evening, i'm tom foreman in for erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, the transparency tornado. president obama's team is ripping into mitt romney for what they call an appalling lack of transparency. they say he's hiding things about his past, his businesses,
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his finances, and they're hitting hard with a new web video on a tax attacks from the vice president himself. >> he wants you to show your papers, but he won't show us his. >> democrats have been demanding more financial disclosure from romney for weeks, and suggesting that he's got secrets he's keeping from voters. listen. >> this is the most secretive candidate since richard nixon. >> mitt romney plays by a different set of rules and keeps secrets like other things he keeps secret. >> governor romney has released his tax return for only one full year. critics say even his father release 12 years of returns when he was running for president in 1968. romney also holds off-shore bank accounts in switzerland, the cayman islands and bermuda. to be fair, those accounts could be completely legitimate, but the dems are whipping up this perception that something shady is going on.
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but hold on. this storm may be turning back on the president. president obama has gone to great lengths to brag about his openness, honesty and transparency in his white house. >> we have put in place the toughest ethics laws and toughest transparency rules of any administration in history. in history. >> transparency, transparency, transparency. we've heard it over and over again. but do his claims add up? he promised to publish the white house visitors log so the public could see coming and going all the time. but later came under fire for holding meetings across the street at a townhouse. he promised more protection for government whistle blowers. according to politic fact, he has done that, but his justice department said he prosecuted more. he appointed a transparency czar and later dropped him, saying the white house attorney can handle that work. and you may remember this moment we brought you on live "outfront" not long ago, the
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president was attending a fund-raiser in june at the home of actress sara jessica parker. and what's that truck doing there? the secret service parked a dump truck in front of our camera to keep him hidden from view. all of that has prompted publications from "the new york times" to "mother jones" magazine to sharply criticize the president from being far from the champion of transparency he claims to be. bottom line, it looks like both candidates need hiding from the transparency twister as it tears through the race. david from, bill adare, from politicfact, extensively covering both campaigns, and roland martin. bill, let me start with you. this wide question of who is being more transparent, is this president any better, any worse, about the same as other presidents? >> he's made considerable progress. he made a big promise. he said he would be the most
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transparent and open president in history. so he's set a high bar for himself. and he's had mixed success. there are definitely some things that he achieved in terms of putting data online, putting data from the economic stimulus. putting up the white house visitor logs. he has been very good at posting data. where he has not done well is resisting the gravitational pull of washington. to do things behind closed doors. he promised that he would open the health care discussions to the cameras of c-span. it never happened. and we have compiled some of these, and we found it's a mixed record of 13 core promises on transparency that we track on politic fact. he's got five kept, five broken and three we've rated compromised. so it's a mixed record. >> so, david, you know, one of the things i've been struck by, i've looked at this ocean of information coming out of the white house.
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and i've heard many other reporters say the same thing. yeah, there's a lot of information coming out. but when you're releasing the information that you want the to release, that's just pr. that's not transparency. >> i'm a big believer in government accountability, but i think transparency is the most overrated concept in government. it doesn't do what you want it to do. it's not -- it's usually not desirable. it breeds cynicism. and, of course, it's counterproductive. >> what do you mean, it doesn't do what you want it to do? i'm a voter, i want to know what's going on. i want to know who the president is sitting down with. >> you think you do, but you don't really. because what you want is an effective administration that delivers positive results. and that means the president needs to have some privacy in his deliberation. think about the publishing of the visitor logs. what does that mean in practical terms? the president wants to hear somebody's point of view or maybe he doesn't even want to hear somebody's point of view. he grants that person the courtesy of a visit. now it's published. now he has to invite six other people whose points of view he also doesn't want to hear. the way we get around it, we meet at starbucks across the street. >> fair.
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but roland, if that's the case, and everybody knows it, including president obama, what did he make all these promises for if he wasn't going to open the doors and bring all the cameras in? >> it's called politics. frankly, i have three words for all of this. waste of time. that's exactly what it is. all this does is, this is one of those things that in a long campaign, you want to attack your opponent, chip away at their credibility, say oh, my god, they're hiding something. look, that's what the obama folks are doing right here. let's go back to 2008. you still have from then to now all of these wackos on the right who want to see president obama's college transcripts, why is he hiding them? what's going on? >> let's go back -- >> none of this has anything to do with housing, with getting a job, with getting education. with health care. all it is a campaign move to chip away at the person. it has nothing to do with policy. so frankly, it doesn't excite me
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at all. >> you know what, roland, you raise a good point when you say it's a waste of time. bill, i kind of wonder if both camps love a waste of time like this, the president, because it keeps him from talking about jobs which he doesn't want to talk about, mitt romney, because it keeps him talking about being an out of touch elitist, which he doesn't want to talk about. >> it puts the romney campaign on the defensive. but i think to respond to what roland and david said, as a journalist, i need to speak up for transparency. transparency is good. we want to know what our government is doing. and i think because of a lot of this data being out there, we do know more. we know a lot about the economic stimulus that wouldn't have been possible in the past. transparency is a good thing. >> tom, you're advocating -- you're advocating the class interests of journalists and the professional interests of journalists. but those are not the same as the needs of the public. think about it. we know more about what goes on inside these government negotiations than we ever did. and government accomplishes much less than in the days we didn't know how the highway bill was
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put together, we got the interstate highways. now that we do know how it happens, now that the president is promising to put negotiations on c-span, which is a guarantee that nothing will ever happen, nothing gets done. government worked better when it was more discreet. it worked better in the '50s and '60s than today. >> tom, tom, tom. >> and one quick sentence here, what would your message be to both camps right now? >> shut up! i would say shut up and focused on policy. okay? we know mitt romney is a rich guy. got it. next? so shut up, focus on policy. and give me concrete plans that you want to move the nation forward, not sitting here saying, oh, where is his account and what his college grades were. i don't care. >> all right. thanks to all three of you for being here. and we'll see where it goes next. i don't think we've heard the last of it. there's more going to be on the way. the russian bear is roaring with warships on the way to syria. we're tracking them. the dry weather is taking a toll on crops. we'll tell you why that has corn
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our second story "outfront," the great bear is roaring. russia's power play in syria. a flotilla of warships to the base in tartus. four ships en route right now. russia says it's no big deal even though it comes a day after
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they suspended arms sales to syria. a lot of analysts are wondering what russia is really up to. russia has been a staunch supporter of syria in the face of international opposition and is reportedly its biggest arms supplier, according to the congressional research service, russia sold syria $4.7 billion in arms from 2007 to 2010. russia's influence is, of course, key to any resolution. joining me, former homeland security adviser frances townsend. what do you think is going on here? >> a couple things going on. let's talk about the ships going to the port of tartus, the only mediterranean port the russians have access to, a critically important one. those ships are really a message to the west to stay out of the problems in syria. not to intervene. let's remember, you know, recently we've seen senior-level military defections away from assad. and a weakening of the military support for the assad regime inside syria.
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you know, i think that what russia is signalling to the west is stay out. if assad is going to crumble and the support for him internally is going to crumble, you don't need to help it and stay out of there. >> when you say that's the message to the west, it's not a gun message, in that we wouldn't expect russia to fire upon anybody or defend syria in this case. it's more a matter of saying we're not going to shoot, don't you think about it either. >> that's right. i mean, i actually think i would go one step further, tom. i actually think russia does not want to be in the position of being the last man standing between the opposition and assad. if the military crumbles and assad is left standing there and needs defense, i don't think the russians want to be in that position. in fact, we've seen recently the russians have opened up some dialogue with the syrian opposition. let's remember, for $4.7 billion in arms sales, the russians want to make sure they hedge their bets and they're friendly with whoever is going to control the syrian military, even if that's the opposition. >> and so how do they play that out with their ships being there.
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let's say it does all fall apart. what do the russians then say? >> i think we've got to watch it carefully. four military shipments -- ships with arms on them, we've got to be careful. while russia is telling us they're no longer going to transfer arms to the syrian military, we're going to have to -- intelligence services from around the world, militaries from around the world, are going to watch that closely to make sure that the russians aren't tempted to continue to transfer arms. and i frankly think that the real message here that we ought to take from this is a signal of hope. assad is losing the support of his internal security services, his military. the defection of the former minister of defense is terribly significant. and so i think that this is all -- you're seeing more russian involvement, more russian concern here for that very reason. and this may be part of the turning point that we've been all hoping and praying for in syria. >> i'll ask a quick question here. russia has tremendous problems
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right now. putin has tremendous problems with the flooding at home. a lot of russians very angry over how that was handled. isn't this exactly what we see with politicians here? he's in trouble at home so stirs the pot somewhere else to get attention off of that. >> i think you can't dismiss that as a possibility, but i think that's sort of an added benefit to their involvement in syria. i'm not sure that's going to drive it. let's remember, syria's relationship with iran is a client relationship, right? it's very close. and we know that russia has not only a close political relationship with iran, but they also have a very tight economic relationship there, as well. >> it's interesting to see those ships moving, always interesting to hear from you, fran townsend. thanks for being here. still "outfront," some democrats breaking ranks with the obama camp on his latest tax plan. one member comes "outfront" to talk about that. and homeland security plans to close nine border stations along the mexican border, claiming assets would be better used elsewhere. well, they're not exactly on the board, no matter what you've read.
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this has been the hottest first half of the year the continental united states has ever recorded. it has been unbearable for many of us, but it has been disastrous for corn.
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take a look at this map from the national weather service. everything in yellow or orange is in drought conditions. corn is being hammered by this heat, since a lot of places it is in a critical growth state. soybeans also being affected. they mature later. big deal for them too. it's so bad, the u.s. agriculture department is rating only 40% of the corn and soybean crop as good or excellent. that's the lowest rating for this time of year since the last big drought in 1988 and this is not just about crops. corn is also the main ingredient in the feed for chicken, cattle and hogs. that means you'll likely wind up paying more for everything from burritos to cold cuts to cola from bacon, bet your boots this is not the last number for this -- is not just for this country. tonight's number, 38.8. that's the percentage of the world's corn that we produce here in america. that much. we are by far the single-biggest
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corn grower on the planet. we also ship a massive amount of soybeans, notably to china, and we supply both commodities as food aid to developing nations, many with their own drought problems right now. so you get it. our corn is cooking in the fields, in one way or another, almost everyone on the planet is paying a price. our third story "outfront," battle at the border. the obama administration's decision to close nine border patrol stations in states like california, montana and texas is causing an uproar tonight. local law enforcement officials say those stations located in towns a few hundred miles from the border provide essential resources to detain illegal immigrants. the administration plans to relocate 41 agents from those stations and place them closer to the southern and northern borders. but does this add up to better border security? our ed lavandera is in amarillo, texas with that story. >> reporter: the border patrol station in amarillo, texas sits on grassy prairie land on the edge of town.
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it's home to two border patrol agents. the office is hundreds of miles from the border, and might not be much to look at, but potter county sheriff brian thomas says his deputies patrol interstate 40, a major corridor for human smuggling and he counts on the border patrol agents for help. what do you think happens now when you come across a group of illegal immigrants that might be trafficked through your home? >> if we don't have any criminal charges on them, we have to let them go. there's not any other choice. >> sheriff thomas fired off a letter to texas lawmakers, saying the plan is ill thought out, and we might as well hang a sign on the texas panhandle that says welcome illegals. this is one of the holding cells in the randall county jail in amarillo, texas. illegal immigrants captured anywhere in the massive 26-county area of the text -- texas panhandle are usually brought here before they're transferred over to a federal holding facility. the sheriff here tells us on any given day he see anywhere between 0 and 15 illegal immigrants here.
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the customs agency says it's closing down nine interior border patrol stations to save $1.3 million a year. the decision is part of an overall strategy to, quote, increasingly concentrate our resources on the border. 41 agents will be moved out of 9 cities, 6 in texas and 1 in california, idaho and montana. president obama has pushed for this strategy of beefing up border patrol presence directly on the border. >> we prioritized border security, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history. today there are fewer illegal crossings than at any time in the past 40 years. >> this is where the battle has been raised. >> reporter: these interior border patrol stations are second lines of defense in national security. he also worries that human smugglers will have an easier time moving across the country. >> i understand border violence and the need to secure our borders. but taking two agents and sending them to the border when
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they already serve an area of about 26,000 square miles just to me -- just doesn't seem to make sense. >> the border patrol, ed, currently has about 20,000 agents of various types on the southwest border. the pugh hispanic center found largely illegal immigration has stopped. what's the real benefit in the end of moving 41 more people there, especially since these communities are objecting so much? >> reporter: we talked to a great number of people today, and including some of the people who represent the national border patrol coalition, the labor union that represents border patrol agents. and they say this is a strategy that has been going on for some time. that many patrol stations like this have actually kind of been dwindling in numbers. they haven't been filling people who leave but leave their jobs here. this is part of an overall strategy to beef up the first line of defense. but many of the critics of that strategy say, look, you're leaving these areas unprotected and that's dangerous. >> ed lavandera, thanks so much for joining us.
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a top democratic senator would like to see a change in president obama's tax plan. he comes "outfront." police relying on a new informant that reveals personal details about you. you won't believe which details. and how officials are paying to get your cell phone's secrets. stay with us. the postal service is critical to our economy, delivering mail, medicine and packages. yet the house is considering a bill to close thousands of offices, slash service and layoff over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses,
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but not for reasons you might think. the problem ? a burden no other agency or company bears. a 2006 law that drains $5 billion a year from post office revenue while the postal service is forced to overpay billions more into federal accounts. house bill 2309 is not the answer. in every way, shape, and form. it's my dream vehicle. on a day to day basis, i am not using gas. my round trip is approximately 40 miles to work. head on home, stop at the grocery store, whatever else that i need to do -- still don't have to use gas. i'm never at the gas station unless i want some coffee. it's the best thing ever. as a matter of fact, i'm taking my savings so that i can go to hawaii.
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